We arrived in Napoli bright and early on our first stop of our Royal Caribbean cruise. As our first stop in Italy, we wanted to ensure we hit some highlights that the nerdy adults would enjoy and would also keep the interest of our two boys, Zack (age 12) and Brady (age 9). It was also Zack’s birthday that day and he had one request: pizza, please.
But first, some history was to be had. Determined to drink in as much as our hours allowed, we opted for a private guide through Sorrento Limousine Servicebased on the recommendation of a friend. As thousands of our fellow cruise passengers headed to the excursions buses, we met our cheerful guide, Daniele, whose enthusiasm helped our kids adjust to the early morning heat.
We started with a tour of Herculaneum, an ancient town destroyed by a volcano in 79 AD. In the shadow of the more well-known Pompeii, the Herculaneum people though they had been spared form the volcano until the winds shifted a day later and the town was swallowed in 250 degree volcanic heat. The ash and heat preserved the town and now, nearly 2,000 years later, we walked among its halls and walls in the early morning.
Kitchens, storefronts, baths, receiving rooms, rooms small and grand spread before us with delightful detail still evident in their mosaics, paintings, and arches. I ducked under doorways between rooms and read that the average height of women in that time was 4 feet 9 inches and men were, at most, 5 feet 3 inches. I’ve never felt like such a supermodel while doused with sunblock and carrying a map.
All the history makes a family hungry so we headed from the ruins to the “Sacred Temple of Pizza” also known as L’ Antica Pizzeria da Michele. For more than 100 years, this pizzeria has carb-loaded travelers from all over Italy and the world.
Made even more famous by the book (and movie) Eat, Pray, Love, the small shop is known for long lines and close quarters as the masses squash together to inhale one of only two pizza options offered.
Our amazing guide, Daniele, ushered us right in and made sure we got a primo table, cold drinks, and double cheese on our pizza pies.
Of course Italy in July is hot-hot so we worshipped at the altar of St. Coca-Cola while we waited. The kids entertained themselves by discovered how to make noises on the glass cola bottles. At last the pizzas arrive – one size only, served whole, plopped onto the table, and devoured with gusto. Daniele comes back to pick us up and asks Zack what he thought about of his birthday pizza. “Mmm, it’s okay,” he replied. “But Dominos is better.” Time for the check…
We attempt to burn off some of our cheesy calories with a stroll along the street market. The kids are mesmerized with the small, outdoor stands offer anything from giant pasta tubes to seafood plopped into buckets atop quickly melting ice. Live octopuses flip their tentacles, warm fish eyes peer skyward, and jumbo shrimp antennas peek out of the ice.
After all this culinary exploration, we head away from the heat and deep underground in a subterranean tour. We went 40 meters deep and 2,400 years back in time to walk through tunnels that zipper along under the city.
Sometimes used as an air raid shelter, other times as the entrance to Roman-style theatres, it was delightfully cool and just spooky enough to keep the kids weaving along with a dripping candle in hand. Some of the passageways are so tight you have to turn sideways to shuffle along. The hour-long tour goes by quickly and we were grateful for the respite from the summer sun.
Before heading back to our ship, Daniele takes us high above the city to see how the blue waters snuggle up against a curvy coast. We snap pictures and vow to return one day with more hours to spend. We wave to Naples as the sun begins to slip lower in the sky and we set sail once again.
Return to RoamRight Travel With Kids Home